5 Ways to Increase Your Self-Esteem

There are so many things that can affect your self-esteem.  Your upbringing, any traumatic experiences, or even the people you associate yourself with can affect the way you see yourself.  The funny thing about self-esteem is that you may be viewing yourself in a completely different light than how everyone else sees you.  But it does not matter how wonderful everyone else thinks you are if you do not see yourself that way.  Raising your self-esteem is critical because it is a lot easier to reach your goals and dreams if you believe that you can.  The following are some ways to increase your self-esteem.

Think and Speak Positively

It is important to be conscious of your thoughts because negative thoughts often lead to negative words.  Controlling your thoughts is a process but you can start by challenging those negative thoughts that may enter your mind.  If you have a negative thought, stop, and ask yourself if it based in reality or in fears.  Turn that negative thought into a positive one, even if you have to speak the positive version of the thought out loud.  Your words are powerful, and it is critical to your self-image and self-esteem that you speak and think positive thoughts.

Believe in Yourself

Have you ever been in a situation where you were being encouraged by those around, but you had no real belief in yourself?  A huge part of building your self-esteem is believing and having confidence in yourself.  It can sometimes be hard to brag on yourself but thinking about or making a list of all your accomplishments can help build your self-confidence.  The main goal is to be aware of your strengths and weakness and think of yourself in the best possible light.  Genuine belief in yourself will lead to an increase in self-esteem.

Celebrate Success

Sometimes we can be so humble that we do not toot our own horn.  But there is no harm in celebrating your successes.  As a matter of fact, it is an important part of building your self-esteem.  It builds your self-esteem when you celebrate all accomplishments, both big and small.  On those days where your self-esteem may be a little low, remember your accomplishments and know that it if you did it then, you can do it now.  Do not hesitate to celebrate yourself.

Give Yourself the Grace You Give Others

We often give others the breaks and kind words that we do not give ourselves.  A big part of building up your self- esteem is to forgive yourself if you fall short.  Do not tie shortcomings to your self-worth.  When others fall short or do not meet our expectations, we often tell them not to worry about it or that it will be okay. We do not hold it against them.  Give yourself the same grace and forgiveness that you give others.  Your past mistakes do not affect your self-worth so be very conscious of letting it affect your self-esteem.

Face Your Fears

Not shying away and facing your fears takes a lot of strength to do.  When you overcome your fears and succeed in doing those things that you wanted to accomplish, your confidence begins to rise, and you begin to feel that you can do almost anything. This feeling is what gives you the rise in your self-esteem.  Once your self-esteem begins to rise, you begin to have the confidence that you can do anything.  Facing your fears can go a long way in increasing your self-esteem.

What are some things that you do to raise your self-esteem when you feel like it is low?

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3 Ways to Begin Living in the Present

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It seems as if we are always in a rush. We are in a rush to get out of the door in the mornings. We are in a rush to get our children to school and to their extra-curricular activities. We are in a rush to get to work and then we are in a rush to get back home. And when we are not rushing from here to there, we have our faces in our cell phones either on social media or texting away. I am guilty of this and many of you probably are also.

It has only been very recently that I have come to the realization that my thoughts are often on my past or future but not often on the present moment. There is a lot of joy to be had and lessons to be learned in the present moment. Here are a few ways to stay in the moment and enjoy the journey of life.

Making Peace With Your Past

It is hard to live in the present moment when you are constantly looking behind you.  Past hurts, regrets, what ifs, and bad choices can rob you of the joy of living in the moment. It is critical that you make peace with your past so that you can move forward. What does make peace with your past look like? It looks different for different people. Your past experiences, whether good or bad, helped shape you into the person you are today. You cannot always erase memories, but you can make the conscious decision to not allow past experiences to hold you hostage.  Some experiences or memories may be so painful that you may need the help of a therapist to assist you in moving past them. Do whatever needs to be done to move forward so that you can enjoy the journey of life.

Know Your Destination But Enjoy the Process

As my daughter is starting to research and narrow down her college choices, the goal is to choose the college that is the best fit for her.  I am having to constantly remind myself not to rush through the process. I want to enjoy every moment. If you have a goal set for yourself, try to remember to enjoy the process. We often go through the motions with are minds on the destination but there are memories to be made in the present moment when you are working towards the goal. Remember to slow down and enjoy the process as you work towards your goals.

Discover What You Can Offer Others

Everybody has a story to tell. Most people’s story can serve as a lesson to others. I have learned many lessons in my lifetime that can help people, but the lesson was always realized in hindsight. Taking your time through life will allow you to recognize the lessons, good or bad, in what you are going through. Life is a series of lessons for yourself as well as lessons that you can share with others. Sometimes the lesson is to take care of your health before you end up in the hospital. Other times, the lesson is not everyone or every issue is worthy of your time and energy.  Being able to get the lesson in real time can put you in a better position to cope in the present. This could help others benefit from the lesson and avoid unneccessary hardships.

In our fast-paced society, slowing down is a challenge. There will be times when you will have to consciously tell yourself to slow down. There are moments when I wish I had slowed down and really relished the moment. And then there are times when I wish I had slowed down long enough to get the lesson in the moment instead of realizing the lesson later.  I am getting better at this, but I am by no means there yet. It takes time and conscious effort but learning to enjoy the journey of life is a practice we should all strive for.

Do you feel like you are enjoying the journey of life? If so, comment below and share some things that you do to ensure that you are living in the moment.

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5 Risks of Living in Your Comfort Zone

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I often hear that your comfort zone is where your dreams go to die.  That may sound extreme, but I believe it to be true for the most part.  I will never go as far as to say that nothing can be accomplished while you are in your comfort zone.  However, I would say that you have a much better chance of achieving your goals is you operate outside of your comfort zone.  The familiarity of your comfort zone may be calming and reassuring but it can also be the reason why many goals may not be achieved.  The following are a few risks of remaining in your comfort zone.

Growth is limited in your comfort zone.

You are not likely to do any growing in your comfort zone.  You live each day knowing what to expect and what not to expect.  This brings you a sense of security but with that security comes a lack of personal growth.  Personal growth consists of you learning new skills, expanding your knowledge, and seeking out new experiences.  When you are nestled comfortably in your comfort zone, you are less likely to take advantages of opportunities.  This leads to your potential for personal growth to be limited.

Fall into mental rut.

Life in your comfort zone is predictable.  Everything is the way it always is, and you like it that way.  However, you can get into such a rut in that you begin to believe that where you are is where you are destined to be.  Your days blur together, and you lose all desire to reach for your dreams and goals because you feel everything is fine the way it is.  The reason why you feel that everything is fine is because you are comfortable.  This can lead to feelings of being unfulfilled and inadequate.  If you are not careful, these feelings could lead to depression or anxiety.

Opportunities are missed in comfort zone..

When you are comfortable in your comfort zone, you run the risk of missing those opportunities that can get you closer to your goals.  I often shake my head at all of the times that I turned down an opportunity because it required me to do something outside of my comfort zone.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone means doing those things that feel foreign to you.  But these are the very things that could also mean the difference between living your dreams and living in your comfort zone.

Becoming watered down version of yourself.

Most of us have had big dreams and big goals that we have wanted to achieve.  Whether it was starting a business or going back to school, we had some goal that we wanted to achieve.  Life often happens and we end up in our comfort zone.  If any effort is put into achieving our goals, it is temporary.  The extra work and dedication needed to make these things happen become a bit much and you sometimes abandon them to return to what is comfortable.  You become the watered-down version of yourself because you still have those dreams that you had before you got into your comfort zone. The dreams remain but you never really become that person because you are hesitant to come out of your comfort zone. 

Frustration and regrets.

Sometimes we go through life and the years pass by before we realize that we are not really living our best lives.  This leads to frustration and regrets.  Frustration and regrets about what should have been or what could have been loom large.  You become frustrated because you may be feeling stuck and then looking back at the different opportunities that you may have passed on causes the regret. Your comfort zone feels good but what does not feel good is the thought that so much more could have been accomplished had you made even the tiniest step outside of your comfort zone.

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What are some of the things that you do to get out of your comfort zone?  What do you think you have missed out on while you lived in your comfort zone? 

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4 Health Benefits of Positive Thinking

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There are many benefits to positive thinking.  Many people belief that if you start the day off with positive thinking then you have a greater chance of having a good day.  Another school of thought suggests that positive thinking attracts good people and good things to come your way.  I believe both things to be true.  A positive mindset will put you in a much better position to not see every challenge or difficult situation as the end of the world.  The great news is that a positive mindset also comes with some health benefits.

Better Heart Health and Positivity

There is scientific evidence that says that positivity can lead to a healthier heart.  When we think negatively or have a negative outlook, stress hormones are released.  This results in a higher heart rate and a rise in your blood pressure.  Having a positive mindset leads to less stress hormones being released which limits the amount of stress being put on your cardiovascular system.  A positive mindset can help ensure that your health is not under any additional or unnecessary stress that can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or heart disease.

Positive Thinking Can Increase Life Span

A positive mindset can add years to your life.  It can sometimes keep you away from those things that unhealthy thoughts can lead you.  Negative thinking can send you down a rabbit hole that can lead to self-destructive behaviors such as alcoholism, drug use, or unhealthy eating habits.  All of these things can lead to a decrease in your life span.  Those individuals who keep a positive mindset are more likely to do those things that make them feel good and are healthy.  Exercising, healthy eating habits, and lower stress levels can add years to your life.

Positive Mindsets and Increased Pain Tolerance

Your positive thinking can even impact how much pain you can tolerate.   For example, When you are in pain or when you are thinking about something that may be painful, the way you think about the pain can impact your experience.  Thinking you are not going to be able to deal with your current or impending pain increases your stress levels which increases your pain levels.  Thinking positive thoughts reduces your anxiety and helps you to focus on something other than pain. This lowers your stress levels which can lead to an increase in pain tolerance.

Positive Thinking And Better Coping Skills

Positive thinking enables you to see the most positive outcome in a situation.  Negative thinking can lead you to make one bad decision that can lead to other bad decisions.  This cycle of perpetual bad decision making can lead to bad outcomes such as hopelessness, high stress levels, and chronic anxiety.  Positive mindsets lead to positive coping skills. These are the coping skills that relieve anxieties and not perpetuate it.  Mediation, journaling, and seeking therapy or counseling are all healthy ways of coping with challenging situations.  You are far more likely to choose positive coping skills when you have a positive mindset.

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Comment below and tell me how you maintain a positive mindset?  What are some other health benefits of a positive mindset that you would add to this list?

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4 Ways to Live With Intention

I did not make any New Year’s resolutions this year, choosing instead to reach my goals through affirmations and intentional living.  So often we have dreams and desires but are not intentional with the way we go about achieving them.  What does it mean to be intentional?  Being intentional is having a goal and consciously ensuring that you are making decisions that will help you achieve your goal.  We often have goals that do not get reached because we are not intentional in making sure they are achieved. The following are 4 ways to help you live more intentionally.

Eliminate Distractions to Live Intentionally

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Eliminating distractions is a must when you are making the decision to live with intentions.  And by all distractions I am including your own negative thinking and negative self-talk that could veer you off the course of you reaching your goals.  The company you keep can also be a distraction.  Being intentional about reaching your goals also means taking inventory of who in your circle can help you reach your goal.  Take a moment to think about what it is you want to be intentional about.  After establishing what it is you want to be intentional about, be mindful of your habits.  The books you read, the music you listen to, and the conversations you hold can all be distractions if they are not serving to help you live with intention.

Make Each Day Purposeful for Intentional Living

A big part of staying intentional is outlining your day with purposeful steps to help you achieve your goals.  You must be mindful about making decisions and completing tasks that will get you closer to achieving your goals.  Your goal must always be in the forefront of your mind so that you can begin each day by thinking of what one or things you can do to move you toward your goal.  Maintaining your focus and remembering why your goal was initially made will help make your days purposeful and filled with intentional living.

Check Yourself to Ensure Intentional Living

People use many ways to remain intentional and hold themselves accountable.  Some people use daily affirmations to help them stay focused and empowered to keep striving toward their goal.  Other people hold themselves accountable through journaling so that they can review their progress over time.  This allows them to see where they are doing well and areas where they need to improve.  Accountability partners work as well if you are comfortable sharing your goals and being reminded of them if you veer off track. However, even if you use an accountability partner, you should also have some type of self-check system in place to ensure that you are living with intention.

Create Balance for Intentional Living

lady smiling with intention

If the goal that you are being intentional about is a new goal, it most likely involves breaking old habits. If you find yourself continually going back to your old ways of doing things you may need to be honest with yourself to determine if you are indeed ready for this change or if you just maybe need to work on your self-discipline.  But remember, you will most likely have days where you miss the mark or fall short on your mission to reach your goal.  Reward yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be mindful of yourself talk. If you fall short, do it again. All new things take a little time.

Have you been living your life with intention? Comment below with what has and has not worked for you.

3 Reasons to Choose Affirmations Over Resolutions

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What a year this has been! As we prepare to enter 2021, what are you thinking about? Are you making resolutions, or do you see them as a waste of time? This time last year I was challenging myself to come up with a list of resolutions that were different than previous the years. It seemed like every New Year’s brought the same resolutions – eat better, exercise, more self-care. Well, my list ended up looking the same except for one resolution: to start and maintain my blog. That was my only different resolution and the only one I kept. This year I decided to do something a little different. Instead of going into the new year with resolutions, I am going into the new year by doing affirmations.

Affirmations are something I have been hearing and reading a lot about and want to incorporate into my daily routine. Resolutions are the things you want to see happen while affirmations are those things that you want to make happen. They are positive statements about yourself that work best when you are intentional about what you are saying. Here are three benefits of affirmations.

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Speak desires into existence

We can sometimes limit ourselves by the way we speak and the way we think. When you only think negative thoughts, negative words are far more likely to come out of your mouth. Speaking affirmations almost forces you to speak positively. When you hear yourself repeating these positive statements over and over, the hope is that you will eventually begin to believe them. So, speaking an affirmation surrounding healthy living can help fulfill the resolution of eating healthier. Healthy eating will almost come naturally after affirmations concerning your health and the desire to live healthily.  Affirmations utilize the power of your thoughts and words to create a desired change.

Build Self-Confidence

As stated earlier, negative thoughts will have you giving up before you even start. We often have lofty resolutions that we often do not keep due to our own lack of self-confidence. You can have a resolution of writing a book or going after your dream job but if deep down you do not feel like you really deserve it, it will not happen. Repeating affirmations and believing what you are saying can lead to your self-confidence rising to the point where you begin to make decisions and take actions that line up with your goals.

Become Aware of Negative Thought Patterns

Some affirmations are also helpful because you can see which ones are difficult for you to wrap your head around. If you already feel that you are loved, you will be able to say these types of affirmations easily. But if you find it hard to let go of your past mistakes and forgive yourself, then those affirmations that encourage you to forgive yourself may not come as easily.  This will let you know what areas you probably need to work on in your journey of personal growth. Your thought patterns and self-talk will become more evident as you begin saying affirmations.

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Hopefully, these benefits of affirmations will help you begin to incorporate them into your daily life. Do you already do affirmations? Do you feel like they help? Comment below with either your experience with affirmations or whether you want to start saying affirmations.

Holiday Self-Care: Keep Moving

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There are so many benefits to physical activity.  Whether you are running, walking, or just moving around your house, physical activity decreases tension and stress while giving you a natural energy boost.  It can also reduce your risk of becoming depressed during this time.  When you stay in bed or start to become inactive, you may feel sluggish and your mental health may begin to be affected.  Move around even it is just to walk to the mailbox.  A part of self-care is to keep moving so that you can keep your energy level up and hopefully your mood elevated.

Previous Tips: Say No!, Be Thankful, Allow Yourself to Feel, and Keep a Routine

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Holiday Self-Care: Keep a Routine

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There is often great comfort in routine.  Knowing what is coming next can often ease a lot of anxiety.  There is a lot going on around the holidays and there is often a lot of pressure to get into the holiday spirit.  If you begin to feel down, sometimes the easiest way to get back to feeling like yourself a little is to continue your routine.  It may not be easy, and you may not feel up to continuing your entire routine but doing those things that are familiar can help prevent you from falling into a prolonged period of not feeling like yourself.

Previous Tips: Say No!, Be Thankful, and Allow Yourself to Feel

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Holiday Self-Care: Allow Yourself to Feel

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When sad or unpleasant feelings begin to overwhelm us, your natural tendency may be to press them down and ignore them.  Doing this can lead to these emotions “eating you up” on the inside and will eventually begin to affect your mental and physical health.  Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion that comes your way.  If you feel like laughing, laugh.  If you feel like crying, cry.  If you want to be to yourself because it is just too much to be around people, do that.  You can often do more harm to yourself than good when you try to suppress these feelings.  Be open to your feelings and allow yourself to feel them in their totality.  Accepting your feelings is a form of self-care as you allow yourself to feel emotions and work through them.

Previous tips: Say No! and Be Thankful

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Holiday Self-Care: Be Thankful

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Holidays are a great time to reflect on our many blessings.  A great way to practice self-care is to think of the things that you must be thankful for.  This year was challenging, and you may have lost a lot – but try to focus on those things that you can be thankful for.  A good way to practice self-care is to keep a running list or journal to serve as a reminder of all the things you should be thankful for.  A vital part of your self-care could be to revisit your list or journal entries and think back on all the things you have to be thankful for. 

Previous tip: SayNo!

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